During the closing days of December, the 2018 Rapid and Blitz FIDE World Chess Championships were played in St Petersburg, Russia.
The classical World Champion, Norway’s Magnus Carlsen declared his intention of going after both the Rapid and Blitz Championships. He wanted to hold all three Championships in the same year.
Earlier, in November, Carlsen had defeated America’s Fabiano Caruana for the Classical title, which is regarded as the foremost title in all of chess.
The Rapid and Blitz titles stand at the periphery of the royal game. Nevertheless, having all three titles in the same year is considered a prestigious accomplishment.
The Rapid Championship was played first and Russian and Chinese grandmasters Daniil Dubov and Ju Wenjun rose to the occasion handsomely and securing first places. Dubov’s starting rank was a casual 25th while Wenjun had a respectable No 2 position. The Blitz category came next, but this time Carlsen prevailed.
In the women’s section, Russian grandmaster Kateryna Lagno joined Carlsen at the top of the playing table in Blitz. Carlsen was last year’s Blitz champion also. With the completion of those two Championships, the year 2018 ended positively for chess in international circles.